Are you being a good student?
Over the last few years, I have put myself directly back at a student level in all that I do. I had spent a little bit of time not really applying myself to learning new things, in some aspects shutting new learning out. That has certainly changed!
Going back to having a student mindset has given me so much. Things such as “Be the First”, making sure that I sit at the front of a class when I can, offer to go first so that I can be learning from inclusion, building my resiliency by actually just putting my hand up to go first has been amazing learning.
We are all students, all the time. Even when we are teaching, we are students. We are learning what the people listening to us are picking up and hearing. Are they staying engaged or nodding off to sleep. Checking in with their phones or having jokes with their friends that last a little too long.
One of the keys to being a better student is to make sure that you are 100% there, in the moment. If you don’t understand what is being said, speak up! If you are paying attention and what is being said doesn’t make sense to you, that gives you time to learn something even more and at a better level. A teacher will always help you understand that. If you miss 20% of what is being said because you were not present in the moment and then question the teacher, it doesn’t enamour you to anyone! By asking good questions, you will also become noticed by the teacher. That is a good thing. It shows them that you are actually hearing what they are saying, taking it in and processing the knowledge. If the teacher uses scientific terms that you don’t understand, ask them what it means. A good teacher should be able to explain themselves in clear, understandable ways.
In saying that, as a good student, you have also prepared yourself to be open to learning, to be taking notes, to have practiced what the teacher is teaching since the last lesson. You don’t have to take everything in from the lesson, that is very hard to do, but if you make an effort to learn it, retain it, then put it into practice, that will certainly benefit you. Stay a little bit longer after class, do a couple of extra repetitions, slow it down, get your mechanics correct. If you do another 5 or 10 mins of learning, or write a couple of last minute notes every time you train, you will really start to excel in a short period of time. There is a great book called The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle that talks about how and why this works.
Are you putting too much pressure on yourself? Get off YouTube and Social Media where often you see the polished piece, not the 18 mistakes before hand, and watch videos of yourself instead. It is amazing how often you will learn something from watching your own videos back. This is great learning. Ok, we know it can be cringe worthy and no one likes the sound of their own voice, but this type of learning or self reflection, is a super way to get better at what you are doing. Don’t compare yourself to others. Is your technique for luring your dog into a drop fluid or is it jerky, too fast, to slow, incorrect with your hand placement or smooth which allows the dog to attain the correct position. When you know what it is that you are trying to do, have heard it a few times and practiced it 150 times, are they still congruent, or has something else crept in to the technique? By watching a video of yourself, and not relying on what you think is correct, that will give you an honest answer. Watch, don’t just listen.
When you go to a seminar, or a training centre, or listen to a podcast or watch a You Tube clip, you are not in control of what the presenter is teaching, or how they are teaching it. You are however, in control of how you learn, what you take away from the lesson and that way, by doing the things above, you are in a great position to become a better student.
Enjoy your learning and remember, when you know better, you do better.